Malaysia Airlines has launched an application that allows customers to book a ticket on Facebook and integrate trip details into their social graph, identifying friends who might be sharing flights, or who will be at their destination.
Developed with Malaysia Airlines by SITA Lab, the research group of air transport IT provider SITA, MHbuddy is an application on Facebook Platform that allows passengers to book and check-in for a flight while sharing their trip details with their friends.
Dr. Amin Khan, Executive Vice President, Commercial Strategy, Malaysia Airlines, said: “Our passengers are spending more and more time using social networks and Malaysia Airlines is one of the most active airlines on social media including Facebook and Twitter. With MHbuddy we are pleased to provide our fans on social media an easy way to book a ticket without having to leave Facebook. In doing so, we have also opened another distribution channel for ticket sales.
“A few airlines sell tickets on Facebook but, unlike Malaysia Airlines, none fully integrates into the user’s social graph or allows passengers to check-in. MHbuddy can be used in any country worldwide and really takes flight booking to another level.”
As passengers book a flight on MHbuddy, they are reminded which of their friends live at the destination and also told of any that are planning to visit at the same time, prompting the booker to send a message. Travellers can also share their itinerary with friends and suggest the same itinerary to them.
With MHbuddy passengers can check in for their flights from Facebook; during seat selection they are shown the seats selected by any of their friends who are travelling on the same flight. This gives MHbuddy users another opportunity to connect with their friends.
Speaking at Innovation in Airline Distribution 2011 in London, Jim Peters, SITA Chief Technology Officer who heads up the SITA Lab, said: “SITA has always focused on technological innovation that the air transport industry and passengers want. This is another example of how we are enhancing the travel experience for passengers and giving them applications that are relevant to the way they live their lives. This initiative is a great step forward and gives people who use Facebook the opportunity to do what Facebook does best – keeping in touch and sharing life experiences with friends.”
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